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How to Create Your SMART New Year’s Resolution

With New Year’s Eve upon us comes the annual opportunity to make the promises that most of us never truly intend on keeping known as New Year’s Resolutions.

Remember the words of Richard P. Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.”

S.M.A.R.T. is a pneumonic that’s very often used in the project objective setting stage of project management. Below I’ve repurpose this easy to remember pneumonic in order to assist you in making life growing SMART New Years Resolution, that you’ll not only stick to, but you’ll rock it! That being said, the SMART goals template below can easily be used to help you develop all types of goals, from professional to organizational.

“If a man does not know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable to him” – Seneca

SpecificDeveloping a New Year’s Resolution that is specific clarifies what you hope to attain, and in turn provides a specific target to hit. Establishing a specific goal is more likely to lead to recognizing  your accomplishments along the way than if you employ overreaching general goals. These little milestone victories will continue to fuel your drive long after the newness of the journey has worn off.

Bad Examples: “Over the next year I want to lose weight.” “I vow to get in better shape over the next year”

SMART Example: “This year I will lose 15lbs in 6 months by walking and/or running for 30 minutes, 3 times per week.”

Measurable The ability to measure your progress on the path to the completion of your New Year’s Resolution is essential in order to provide the feedback needed  for knowing whether you’re staying on track, or whether a correction is needed. Measuring in the unit of measure appropriate for your goal allows you to record your progress on target dates, providing exhilarating progress inspiring you to persevere to the new you. The unit of measurement that you want to use depends entirely on the resolution you’re making. If you want to lose weight and become lean, then track your body fat percentage. If you want to be able to run a mile, then track how far you’re able to run each day as you progress toward your goal.

AttainableWhen you pick a resolution that’s near and dear to your heart, you begin to uncover countless opportunities, attitudes, abilities, and talents that can assist you in accomplishing your dreams.  Fitness is a lot like finance in the sense that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The context of your world will expand with each and every baby step you navigate toward your promised prize. If you’ve ever watched a strongman competition you know that the hardest part of the truck pull competition is just getting that damn thing moving. Remember, it will get easier once you get the goal, truck (or plane) rolling!

Realistic – A realistic resolution is one that represents a goal that you’re prepared and capable of working towards. Only you can determine what is realistic in your own personal context. Keep in mind that loftier goals typically provide greater motivational force than more “realistic” goals. I find that the goal ‘I want to lose 5 pounds in the next year’ motivates far less than the goal ‘I want to lose 20lbs in the next 6 months.’ Ask yourself if those like you have accomplished similar goals, or even borrow someone else’s accomplished goal if it is realistic for you. Reach for the best you possible!

Timely Your goal should always, always, always have a time frame, and it’s important to remember that though you never fail with  ‘someday goals’, they’re also very rarely attained. Keep in mind that setting yourself a hard deadline is part of fulfilling the “specific” requirement, so if your resolution has “someday” in it, you’re still back at “S”.

The 3Ds of New Year’s Resolutions

Below are components that I like to refer to as the 3Ds of New Year’s Resolutions. Ensuring that these three attributes are active in your SMART New Year’s Resolution all but guarantees you success.

“There first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

~John Pierpont Morgan

Desire: Every New Year’s Resolution starts out simply as a desire. It may come from inspiration, such as witness the success of those around you, or as the quote says, simply deciding that you’re not comfortable staying where you are any longer.  A desire is a wish, a craving, or a yearning for something that you wish to obtain. It is the beginning of every resolution and fitness journey, and it is a step that most of you who are reading this have already fulfilled.  Most people reach a point in their lives where they desire to become more fit, but for one reason or another they’re usually unable to get beyond merely dreaming about the change.  Desire by itself is simply not enough. Like the fitness machine you now use to dry your laundry, or the P90X DVD still lying in its dusty case, desires will not change you or your world without action.

“My passions were all gathered together like fingers that made a fist. Drive is considered aggression today; I knew it then as purpose “

~ Bette Davis

Drive: Drive is an inner urge that moves a person onward toward a goal or objective.  Drive encompasses the very fuel of passion including energy, initiative, and effort.  It means that not only are you going to have this desire today, but you’re going to live this desire by making it a priority in your life each and every day. It means going to the gym even when you don’t really feel like it, and it means taking the path that’s less traveled when it comes to nutrition.

“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Determination: Determination is making a decision or settling on an absolutely resolute purpose. It’s having the stamina to focus on the finish line, even though it may still be too far off to be seen. It means not listening to the scale or other saboteurs on your way to the finish line. Determination is demonstrated by persistently attaching and breaking through barriers, picking yourself up from your failures, and forever expanding your context.

I implore you to not only commit or recommit yourself to fitness this year, but also to try and take someone with you on your fitness journey. The supreme beauty of a great idea is that it spreads like wildfire, and health is one of the great ideas that make all the other great ideas possible. Remember that health is the true wealth!

This is my last post of the year, so I thought it appropriate to take a moment and thank all of you who have visited my blog in 2010! This blog’s success is only possible through your visits, and through the invaluable comment contributions you’ve made. I wish you a safe and Happy New Years Eve, and a 2011 filled with making your dearest dreams realities!


Lean Muscle Matt

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